Worldwide there are a number of tourism destinations and each year, there are different hot spots in the world that attract a large number of travellers. However, increasingly, more unusual tourism destinations gain popularity and attract more and more consumers. It is the sometimes a bit different tourism experience that attracts travellers to these destinations. These unusual tourism destinations are booming. One example for an unusual destination are prison tours that are offered guiding travellers through former prisons in the United States and other parts of the world (Skift 2013).
Although prison tours seem a bit different when thinking about a tourism destination at first, many travellers have a deep curiosity and fascination with sometimes unusual destinations. The fascination with prisons and life behind bars is what is attracting an increasing number of travellers to more than 100 former prisons that are now museums and places where they can have tours around. The Missouri prison or Alcatraz are only two examples for former prisons that are very popular and successful with offering prison tours to travellers.
The former Alcatraz prison receives 1.5 million visitors each year and these visitor numbers need to be capped due to demand exceeding available tours around the former prison. Due to most travellers not actually experiencing life in prison for themselves, a prison tour is the closes they will get to that experience, making it special and out of the ordinary tour.
Why are travellers enjoying prison tours so much and it is now booming as an unusual tourism destination? Many travellers are also enjoying and interested in paranormal or even “ghost” related experiences and therefore prisons seem a perfect fit, due to their often dark atmosphere and many travellers consider empty prisons as ghostly.
In years to come, the tourism industry will increasingly see travellers wanting to experience something out of the ordinary. Already unique experiences are what travellers are looking for when researching and planning travel online. With expectations for travel rising, it is these very unusual experiences such as prison tours that can make a destination extra interesting and more popular in comparison to more traditional destinations.
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